Ms Osempia is one of the longest serving staff members at Smith Secondary Campus. A teacher of biology, Osempia started working at the School in 2008 and is passionate about inspiring female students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields.
“Tanzania needs professionals in these areas. Encouraging girls to work towards a career means they will be financially independent and eventually change their societies,” Osempia believes.
“Women are still not equal to men in some African communities. It is true that education is the most essential tool to aid women. It gives them strength and courage to stand out and let their voices be heard. As a teacher, I set this example.”
Osempia knows from personal experience that being educated is crucial in the fight against poverty.
“I was a government school student myself. I am from a very poor background. My father passed away when I started secondary school, so my mother had to take responsibilities supporting the family. This was not easy for her as a peasant who had to support two children. She encouraged me, being female, to study especially hard.”
Osempia’s persistence paid off. She graduated from Form 6 and went on to higher education to become a teacher. Now, she is a married mother of four boys aged between two and ten. She can afford to send her eldest sons to private schools because of the salary she receives at St Jude’s.
“Education broke the cycle of poverty for me. I am able to provide all basic needs for my family. My children will never know what it is like to live in a mud house as I did. Our home is made of bricks and we have good things.”
A day of teaching is not over when Osempia finishes in her science laboratory. When she goes home, Osempia encourages her boys to help with house chores and be good citizens.
“It is commonly assumed that a woman should only do house work and not be a professional. Though my sons are still young, I train them to help with housework and not to depend on me. This will help shape their ideologies so that when they have their own homes, they know how to respect a woman.”
Equally, Osempia takes her position as a role model for aspiring scientists very seriously. Many St Jude’s students will be among the first in their family to finish secondary education and pursue STEM careers.
“Last year, the highest scoring St Jude’s students in Form 4 national examinations were girls. St Jude’s facilities and teaching staff help them realise they are equal to males. It is harder for girls in government schools. For example, St Jude’s girls are at less risk even travelling to and from school, because we provide free transport and boarding. It makes a big difference.”
“Our girls are succeeding and they have the opportunity to change the world. I feel proud to play a small part in their journey to success.”
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